I Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Thursday 9 November 2017

For years I've had problems with my right hand, I put it down to it being the hand that held my camera weight, and to breaking it a few times in my younger days. Two years ago it began to be more of an issue, I'd do a photoshoot and barely be able to use my hand for days. I began strapping it up for shoots figuring it was just a strain that was overworked and cut down on my photoshoots. Gradually it began to hurt me all the time, and after some exploring, my doctor suspected I had carpal tunnel syndrome. I had expected to be told it was repetitive strain injury, so it was a shock. I was sent to for nerve conduction studies and was told I had moderate to severe carpal tunnel in my right hand. I was more shocked to be told I also had moderate carpal tunnel in my left hand!

The first step, was to wear a splint to support my hands. The NHS do not provide splints, so I researched some online and ended up buying them from Amazon. I had 'skin coloured' ones, in that ugly beige colour, but ultimately preferred black ones because they blended in with my clothes more. I wore them to sleep as recommended, and found that I basically got no relief. The damage was too far gone.

As our wedding approached last year, I began to panic. I had been so specific about what kind of flowers and bouquet I wanted, and here I was, hands in constant pain, how could I possibly hold my bouquet all day? I spoke to my doctor who decided it was time to try steroid injections in my right hand. The first couple worked great, I got a lot of relief from the pain and my hands worked better. I was able to hold my bouquet for the ceremony and photos before I needed to put it down. By the third injection, it was clear it wasn't going to be an option long term.

By the fourth injection, my doctor struggled to even get the injection into my nerve to give me the steroid treatment. In carpal tunnel your nerves become calcified and compressed, the pain spread and would shoot up my elbow. It's impact upon my daily life became more and more obvious. I cut down on how much I blog, because typing hurts. I switched from ordering pints of water in the pub (yes, I am that person) to having halves or using a straw, because I couldn't life a pint anymore. My hand forgets it is holding things, combined with my clumsiness this has led to lots of dropped and smashed things! I can only drive short distances because it hurts. By the evenings even giving my dog scritches hurts, so poor Ashen even misses out. I have to ask my husband Stu to open jars and bottles, or to carry heavy things for me. Washing my hair hurts, writing hurts, anything that uses my hands hurts.

Want to know a fun fact about carpal tunnel? Painkillers have absolutely no effect on it whatsoever. So there is nothing you can do to alleviate the pain. This is why today I am having the first of my two carpal tunnel surgeries. It's going to put me out of commission for a few weeks, so I have some fantastic guest posts lined up from bloggers I love. Once my right hand is healed, I'll be having my left hand done too. I'm excited to potentially have more use of my hands again, but I'm also realistic and know that my hands won't be how they used to be.

Wish me luck!

Much love,
Kitty xxxx